Should I Take an Online Pharmacy Technician Program?

Completing a degree online is very appealing, particularly to those who need a flexible and convenient option.  With many online programs, you can control much of your study schedule, plus you do not have to pack up everything and relocate or commute.

As telecommuting becomes more common place in many facets of life, so too are online degrees, certificate programs and courses increasing, both in number and quality.

But how about online pharmacy technician programs? Wondering if they are suitable for an online environment? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Interaction with Students and Instructors

Obviously with online programs you don’t get that same face-to-face interaction that you would get in a traditional classroom setting. From a social perspective, nothing beats meeting and communicating in person, in terms of understanding non-verbal cues and even building trust. Working as a pharmacy technician, chances are good you will be interacting in person with the public and/or co-workers, which cannot not be 100% simulated in an online environment.

However, many proponents for online education state that learning in an online environment actually encourages or increases classroom participation. “In online courses, students’ engagement and learning increases,” states the MGH Institute of Health Professions. “Since all students are required to participate in discussion threads, every student needs to work through different problems and generate ideas and solutions.  Students who typically don’t participate in the face-to-face course are more likely to post to a discussion and interact with their peers in the learning process.”

Work-Life Balance

Do you already have a part time or full time job? Kids? Commitments in the community? All of the above?

Many online programs, like pharmacy technician programs, allow you to “attend lectures,” add to discussions and complete assignments at a time and place that works for you. This means you do not have to put the rest of your life on hold.


Attending an accredited pharmacy technician program ensures you are completing studies that meet quality, nationally-recognized standards. It also makes securing employment, and meeting potential state licensure requirements that much easier. (While researching prospective pharmacy technician schools, look into your state’s pharmacy board requirements for pharmacy technicians).

According to the ASHP (American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists), which accredits pharmacy technician programs, there are some accredited hybrid programs: they offer “classroom” or “theory” courses online, but hands-on lab and clinical experiences in person.

ASHP accredited programs must be a minimum length of 600 hours extending over 15 weeks or longer,” states the ASHP. “Some of the didactic portion of accredited programs may be taught online or through a correspondence course, however, to complete an accredited ASHP program there must be contact experience.